Round the Kettle Ep 10: An Unplanned Reality Check?

How are you? How have the past couple weeks treated you?

We’ve been…keeping busy over here to put it lightly. But, I’ll be completely honest with you, I don’t really know what else to share about the past couple weeks that I haven’t already talked about in previous blog posts. You can read about our Berlin trip HERE and catch my most recent Friday Morning Cups post HERE. These two posts kind of sum up the biggest bits from the past couple weeks.

No, today I want to talk about something completely different than what I thought I would be. I thought I would be touching on what we’ve learned from travelling with two toddlers, our must haves, and just general thoughts, but I just don’t feel like talking about that right now. I may do a full blog post on this later on, but I wanted to go back to something that I heard a couple weeks ago.

There is a lot of conversation around where we are at. The area that we are, the goods, the bads, work schedules, lack of work, etc. I hear both ends of the spectrum, the love, the hate, the ambivalent. I’ve tried to see different perspectives on each situation and conversation I’ve been in and have tried to be understanding to others, as we are all going through different things in life and that affects how we handle things. I know this is all very vague- I’m sorry!

BUT honestly, I feel that we all need a bit of a reality check. Maybe a couple…bear with me for a minute as Reality Check 1 is one that applies to my specific situation, Reality Check 2 is the one that applies to life as a whole. Honestly I’ve been seeing some negativity going around, and not only just here where I am at, but across Social Media as well.

Reality Check #1: How many people would dream to have the opportunity that we have?

Yes, it may not be ideal all the time. There may be times where we miss family, where we miss some of the amenities that we have grown accustomed to and sure there may be times when we just want our family to be together (to be honest, when the work schedule is free it is free, when it is booked, it is booked solid), but we are in Europe. I NEVER dreamed in my wildest dreams that this dream I had held on to for so many years would actually get to come true. Even if Europe was not a dream of yours, it is an absolutely incredible opportunity. Travel here is so much easier and accessible. The number of things to do, history to see, places to go is endless.

Also- this could apply to anyone, not just myself. Think about the good in your life, think about the opportunities that you have been blessed with. I guarantee you there are some. We’ve all been blessed, some more so than others, yes, but we’ve all had some blessings.

Reality Check #2: Your Life and Your situation is what YOU make of it.

Here’s the big life altering piece of advice that is coming in this Round the Kettle…We get one life to live and WE get to choose how to live it. Yes, sometimes there are situations out of our control, yes sometimes there are hiccups, but WE get to choose how we respond to those situations, we get to choose what options we make and where we go from there. If you go into a situation thinking of all the things that could go wrong, thinking of all the negatives, you are setting yourself up to be miserable and to fail. If you go into a situation thinking of the positives, the doors that can open everything changes.

Now, none of this is new or anything like that, but I can’t help but remind myself of this all the time. There are always positives and negatives to any situation, but it is what we choose to focus on that determines our outcome/life/lifestyle/attitude/whatever you want to call it.

Ok, I’m getting off my soapbox now. I just get so aggravated when I see the constant negativity. I know that life isn’t all sunshine and daisies, hell I had a moment this week where I got annoyed because we were in a little hotel instead of our home and we didn’t have all the toys for the kids, and I didn’t have access to some things, yada yada yada. Yea, I had a moment, I GET it. I just don’t dwell in it. I don’t focus on it. I will share about the frustration sparingly, because as much as I believe in sharing the good AND the bad, the moment you let it fester- the moment you give it more than the initial frustration- is the moment it starts to take over. So, I’ll share every once in a while and in sharing, I’ll put a little reminder at the end that the situation is what we make of it. While life isn’t always perfect and things aren’t always happy, that doesn’t mean it can’t be.

If you only take one thing away from me/my blog/my life it is that our attitude, our thought process, our mind controls 75% of our life and outcome.

What do you think? This Round the Kettle went completely sideways from my initial intention and honestly this whole post should either be scrapped or a totally separate post, but I am keeping it as it is. Round the Kettle isn’t intended to be like my regular blog posts, rather just a catch-up chit chat style post. This is just something that I’ve been chatting with others about and has been weighing heavily on me over the past week or so. I wanted to share and chat about it because it is something that even I need to be reminded of from time to time.

In other, more light and fun news, I am taking a couple steps forward in turning this into a proper Podcast! I am doing some research, learning how things work, what is best to do, reading, etc. I hope that I can get things really up and going shortly after we get a house (which we still have no clue on haha).

 

 

Friday Morning Cups – A Two for One

IMG_9865.jpgI’ve been talking and listening to a lot of people lately (both in person and online) and I’ve been hearing two different things: 1) Complaints about location, living in a hotel, how small the area is, how spread apart everything is, etc. and 2) How positive I am about the whole situation, that they don’t see that a lot and how great that is. 

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Here’s the deal. Life in general is what you make of it. Situations arise, things happen, life doesn’t go according to all of your dreams, there will always be something. It happens to all of us. The difference from one person to another is what you make of it. How you handle the highs and lows. What outlook you choose to adopt. 

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Does living in a hotel apartment suck at times? Sure! Of course it does. Does it suck for my kids to be confined to one room at times? Yes. (We also have a pretty good set up, I’ve seen a couple of the other apartments in our building- doesn’t change the overall sentiment). 

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I could name all the things, but honestly it doesn’t matter. What matters is how I CHOOSE to handle this new situation. I am CHOOSING to look at the bright side. I am CHOOSING to look at the wealth of options and good things that we do have. There is SO MUCH good right now, that while the bad can be bad at times it doesn’t affect our overall positive outlook. ▫️

I fully believe that THIS, this seemingly mundane thing, has made all the difference in our whole move and transition. 

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What is your outlook? I challenge you to find the good. Focus on the good. Smile. 

We’ve all got one of those pictures. The one that just “didn’t work out”. The first picture is one of those pictures. I had Andrew who just wanted to be held, Colton who wanted to run wild and free, and me who just wanted one picture with both boys. The funny thing is I almost prefer this picture to our “perfect” picture (swipe to see the perfect one). This first picture shows the particular moment in time. The imperfections that makes our family perfect. Life is not perfect, our family is not perfect, but we are us and both of these pictures represent us. I look at this picture and I laugh. I see my children loved and happy just having a fun time. I laugh at my own “over it” look (and I do very much remember that feeling). Those memories are more important than having that perfect picture. Reality is always better than perfection. 

React vs Respond

I think one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned over the past few years is how to respond rather than react. I think this is something that comes not only with maturity, but with taking a step back from everything and reflecting on yourself as a person.

We all struggle when someone says something about us: negative or positive. When someone attacks who we are, what we do, how we live, how we communicate, a lot of times our first reaction is to fight back (or in some cases run away). This is an instinct that is so ingrained in our society, the whole idea of fight or flight. That you have to stand up for who you are, that YOU HAVE TO say something.

But do you? Do you really?

The thing is, we DON’T HAVE TO REACT. We don’t have to feed into whatever the other person is trying to do. Note in the above paragraph I said that “our first REACTION”, but what if we take a moment. When someone attacks something that we’ve said or done, instead of that instant reaction, we take a moment.

Take a moment to breathe. Take a moment to figure out what that person has even said. Take a moment to listen to what we said, and then what they said. Then we RESPOND. We respond with insight, with calm clarity. Or, we don’t respond. We walk away. We say that’s not what we are interested in.

Easier said that done, right? I get it. It is DIFFICULT. It is so hard to break out of what is so ingrained into who we are and to break that initial instinct. BUT, if we break out of that path, what can happen? We can have a conversation (or we cannot), but there isn’t a further escalation. Things aren’t said out of anger. Things aren’t misconstrued. There is a constructive time for both sides to say what they need to and then move forward.

So many times I see a fight (or am, unfortunately in one) that could easily have been prevented if either side had RESPONDED with thought and insight, rather than REACTING out of anger and frustration. I’ve been in this very situation and I’ve said things that I have not meant, out of a reacting place. Out of a space of anger, where all I want to do is just lash out ( I mean we all have these moments).

You know what I’ve learned over the past few years of going down this path? Life is so much easier. When someone is saying something about me, it bounces off. If I need to respond to it, I think about who the person is that is saying this to me. Do I really need to respond? How is whatever they are saying affecting them or myself? Is this something that I want to open up to?

I ask myself these questions ALL THE TIME. When I am reading news articles, in conversations with friends/family, scrolling through social media. If any of the answers are no, then I just walk away. I DON’T SAY ANYTHING. I don’t engage in any way. It’s not worth the time, the effort, the emotional/mental output to even begin to engage in something that really isn’t important.

Ultimately, the two things I want to impress on you with this blog post are these:

 

  • WE DON’T HAVE TO ENGAGE EVERY SINGLE PERSON IN THE WORLD. If it isn’t productive, positive, important, then it doesn’t need a response. If the answer to any of the above questions is no, then you don’t need to engage. And when I say don’t need to engage, I mean in any way. You don’t need to say that you aren’t going to respond, you don’t need to say a goodbye, you don’t need to say anything. You just move on past.
  • WHEN WE DO WANT TO ENGAGE, WE CAN DO IT FROM A PLACE OF RESPONSE RATHER THAN REACT. If you want to have a conversation, then you need to be calm and collected. We need to come from a place where we can be open to listening to someone else, taking their ideas in and then volleying back with our own. If it goes to a place where you or the other person doesn’t want to be, then disengage.

 

It’s beyond just being kind to others. It’s a matter of taking the reaction bit out completely. If you feel attacked, step away, take a moment and then come back in. There is nothing wrong with saying “You know what, I am not interested at this time. I think that this is not the space for me to be in right now” and then walking away. That is mountains better than getting into a place of react, react, react.